Recruits across the country took official visits to area schools this weekend, but Suitland defensive back Nick Nelson probably had a slightly different experience than most of them.
“They tried to teach me to surf…” Nelson said of his trip to the University of Hawaii.
He didn’t elaborate on how that lesson went, but as for the visit, Nelson said that went “great,” and that he was impressed by the school, his conversation with Coach Norm Chow, and the rest of the coaching staff. Though he hasn’t signed, he says the visit confirmed his plans to play for the Rainbows next season.
Nelson, who also had offers from schools closer to home like Coastal Carolina, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central, Stony Brook, Temple and Towson, made a 14-hour trek to Honolulu for a three-day stay.
“That flight really was long, though,” said Nelson, who added that the temperature hovered around 80 degrees throughout his visit. “It’s far, but my parents will support me no matter what.”
Hawaii was a late addition to Nelson’s list of suitors, joining the chase for the 5-11 corner when Hawaii’s defensive backs coach, Daronte Jones — a former college teammate of Suitland defensive backs coach Melvin Coleman — told his friend the Rainbows were looking for shutdown defensive backs. Coleman had one in mind, and after confirming with Nelson that he’d be willing to travel west, he passed his film along to the Rainbows. A few days later, Chow was offering Nelson a scholarship.
Nelson will bring speed, physicality, and strong hands to the Hawaii defensive backfield. In addition to finishing his senior season as the Rams’ second-leading receiver, he was also matched up with the opponents’ top receiver in nearly every game of Suitland’s run to the state title game. After breaking his thumb midway through the season, Nelson continued to fill that role, picking off two passes while wearing a cast for the 4A state runner-up.